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New technology increases access for patients

At seven months pregnant, Kristen Ballard is one of the nearly 19,000 patients at the MacArthur OB/GYN clinic in Irving

"When I was pregnant with my daughter, they said I needed to see a specialist and they recommended him [Dr. Jeff Livingston] and I"ve been with him ever since," said Ballard. 

But, despite the size of the practice, Ballard said she doesn't feel like just a number.

"I can ask any questions, at any time. I've actually emailed at 1 in the morning," laughed Ballard. 

The doctors jumped on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagon long ago as a way to interact with patients. 

"I think in any business you really need to go where the market is, and if you look at where patients are they're living on line," said Livingston. 

Because of the sensitive nature of medical records, he and his staff recently introduced an online patient portal.  The portal is a secure way for patients to schedule appointments, request prescription refills, see their medical records and get lab results the moment they're available.

Livingston said not only does it open up the lines of communication between he and his patients, but it's improved efficiency in the front office.

"The overflow in the office is a lot better. The phones aren't as busy. We're able to reach out to more patients in a quicker manner," says Tiffany Dixon, front office supervisor.

And, it's an added comfort for patients going through pregnancy, one of life's most exciting events.

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